Rent Shop Volunteer Join

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Wednesday - June 22, 2011

From: Arlington, VA
Region: Southeast
Topic: Privacy Screening
Title: Need suggestions for plants for a privacy screen in Arlington, VA.
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

I am looking for a tall-growing tree/shrub to act as a privacy screen with neighbors on two existing borders, including, e.g., blocking out the neighbors tall swing set gym, deck, and other activity, which is only 10 feet from the back of our house. Due to the very small amount of yard space, I am looking for something that grows upright and is not wide.

ANSWER:

You don’t mention your growth conditions or whether there is a fence on not, so let me introduce you to our Native Plant Database that can help with finding plants for particular situations. One way of using the Database is to go to the Recommended Species Lists. Click on View Recommended Species Page, and then click on Virginia on the map. This will bring up 122 commercially available native plant species suitable for planned landscapes in Virginia. This is more information than you need, so go to the Narrow Your Search box to the right of the window and make the following selections: select Virginia under State, Shrub under habit, and Perennial under duration.  Click on the Narrow Your Search button and the list is reduced to 30. Clicking on the scientific name of each plant will bring up its NPIN page that has plant characteristics, growth requirements and photos. These can help you select plants whose growth requirements fit your growing situation.

You can control the height and width of your screen with careful pruning.

Another approach is to plant an evergreen vine on trellises. This time, use the Combination Search Box on the Native Plant Database page. It works similarly, so make the same selections as before, except select Vine instead of Shrub under habit, and click on the Submit Combination Search button. This brings up a list of 63 native species to choose from.

For help closer to home, you can contact the folks at the Arlington County office of Virginia Cooperative Extension.

 

More Privacy Screening Questions

Combining native shrubs for hedge in Austin
April 15, 2009 - Smarty, Please tell me what the definitions are for all the various water, soil moisture, drainage and light requirements mean. Are the definitions global? I live in Central East Austin and inten...
view the full question and answer

Barrier Shrubs for North Carolina
July 11, 2015 - Need a spiny barrier shrub that will grow in North Carolina shady rain forest (4,000 feet elevation) to deter trespassers wading down a creek from climbing on a private nature path that we constructed...
view the full question and answer

Hiding a chicken house from Glen Rose TX
February 06, 2013 - To hide a chicken house, which do you recommend, crape myrtles or chinese photinias?
view the full question and answer

Privacy hedge for Palm Springs CA
July 04, 2013 - Dear Mr. Smarty Pants I have a 6 foot block wall, and my house is elevated, and I need a privacy hedge or tree (even flowering) to create more privacy. I do not want to use Ficus as I hear they can d...
view the full question and answer

Need suggestions for plants to form a privacy hedge in Austin, TX.
April 14, 2011 - I live on a corner lot with the backyard facing a busy street. My lot is 4 feet lower than street level. I am looking for a privacy screen to plant along this North facing side. I have a canopy of ...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.